The Politicized Enforcement of Laws Criminalizing Executive Branch Conflicts of Interest
Presidential Studies Quarterly, Forthcoming
37 Pages Posted: 1 Dec 2021
Date Written: November 23, 2021
There exist a host of separate federal statutes governing conflicts of interest for employees in the federal executive branch. These are supplemented by additional administrative rules promulgated by the Office of Government Ethics. Most provisions regulate financial self-dealing via the imposition of criminal sanctions. In this article, I analyze the enforcement of public ethics law in the executive branch in three ways: first, by examining the textual substance of the statutory and administrative provisions regulating financial conflicts; second, through the presentation of descriptive statistics on enforcement of federal prohibitions on self-dealing; and third, through exploratory analyses to investigate whether enforcement of federal public ethics law is driven by partisan dynamics or ideological preferences. My results indicate that the Department of Justice is at least somewhat more likely to successfully prosecute employees of agencies whose ideological preferences are misaligned with the incumbent President.
Keywords: public ethics, conflict of interest, administrative politics
JEL Classification: H1, K14, K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation